Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Transformation

"Accidents and inspiration, lead you to your destination."
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
Transformation is one of those funny things that you're not aware of until you are part way through the process.  And then it's frustrating 'cause you still may not know where you're going.

From the time I was 8, I've said I wanted to be a writer.  Learning how to write better is one of the reasons I went back to school.  Little did I know that school writing was going to be all about writing what other people wanted me to write, leaving little time and energy to write from my heart.

Academic writing has its value, don't get me wrong.  It's taught me how difficult writing is.  Hard fricking work.  And all about the scheduling and balancing different assignments.  But my creativity has become very limited because it seems like all I do is worry about time.

Turning 50 probably doesn't help.  :)

Last night, I finished a wonderful book that helped to put things in a better perspective: "The Butterfly's Daughter" by Mary Alice Monroe.  Heartfelt tale of mothers and daughters and the amazing cycle of the monarch butterfly's life.  Just lovely.  The kind of book I want to write.  Will write.  Soon.  I have the research skills, thanks to academia.  I have the writing chops, thanks to life-long practice.  I have the will to carve out time.

Transformation = not supposed to be easy or quick.
Butterfly Queen, 2008


Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Cat-it-tude

I'm in a questioning phase of life right now.  Maybe this is because I feel overwhelmed with work and study and gardening and family obligations.  I seem to have very little time for making art and/or writing.  Doesn't help that I have a new, young neighbor that doesn't understand the niceties of living in a quiet, working-class neighborhood.  Two all-night parties in one week = a very cranky neighbor woman.  (Last night, I called the cops.  A first for me.)
We also have two darling kittens and the homeless kitty mama that we're housing until we can find them homes.  So we're doing the "Stray Cat Strut," continually.  Stressful on us, more stressful on our existing pets.  It helps  to think of this:

So what does all this mean?  Is this my new normal - warp speed with no down time?  Or, do I need to develop a new pattern of living so that my needs get met along with everyone else's?
 
- Jane Austen
 
I know that "selfish" is not a negative.  It means I'm taking care of myself, first.  Which gives me the energy, and the interest, to take care of everything else.  
 
More of this attitude, please.
Oooh, Oooh, Oooh, Oooh,
Black and orange stray cat sittin' on a fence
Ain't got enough dough to pay the rent
I'm flat broke but I don't care
I strut right by with my tail in the air

Stray cat strut, I'm a ladies' cat,
A feline Casanova, hey man, thats where its at
Get a shoe thrown at me from a mean old man
Get my dinner from a garbage can
Yeah don't cross my path

I don't bother chasing mice around
I slink down the alley looking for a fight
Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night
Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry,
"Wild stray cat, you're a real gone guy."

I wish I could be as carefree and wild,
but I got cat class and I got cat style.

I don't bother chasing mice around
I slink down the alley looking for a fight
Howling to the moonlight on a hot summer night
Singin' the blues while the lady cats cry,
"Wild stray cat, you're a real gone guy."

I wish I could be as carefree and wild,
but I got cat class and I got cat style.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fifty

Fifty is the smallest number that is the sum of two non-zero square numbers in two distinct ways: 50 = 12 + 72 = 52 + 52.  (This makes no sense to me, so I'll take Wikipedia's word for it.)


Fifty is the fifth magic number in nuclear physics.  (Huh?) 

There are fifty states in the United States of America. (This I knew.)

The TV show Hawaii 5-0 is so called because Hawaii is the 50th state.  (I just watch the show to see Alex O'Loughlin's abs.)

The percentage (50%) equivalent to one half, so that the phrase "fifty-fifty" commonly expresses something divided equally in two; in business this is often denoted as being the ultimate in equal partnership.  (Give me a "sale" sign that reads 50%,  and I'm there.  Now that's good business.)

In years of marriage, the gold or "golden" wedding anniversary is fifty.  (Honestly, I can't imagine spending fifty years with the same person.)

"I’m aiming by the time I’m fifty to stop being an adolescent."  (Now, what would be the fun it that?)

A fifty dollar bill is sometimes called a Grant based on the use of Ulysses S. Grant's portrait on the bill.  (I'll take a handful of these, please.)

When I search for fifty, the prime results is "Fifty Shades of Grey."  (Is this a new hair color?)  :)  (Haven't read it.  Don't plan to.)

"Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it’s up to you to merit the face you have at fifty."  (I do wish I could have my twenty year old body back.)

Fifty - being ten more than forty.  (On the other hand, fifty is also 10 years less than 60.)

Aged 50.  (Sigh.  I worked hard to get here.  Not smart, but hard.  I'm going to enjoy it.)

After all, "You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream."







Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pause

All art is but imitation of nature.
(Seneca)

The weather is gorgeous.  There's oodles of weeds to pull and plants to plant.  I'll be back next week with pictures.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Green with Envy

It's stones like this that make me wish I had unlimited money.

I found this gem a few weeks ago, on Balibagus' Etsy site.  So stunning.
And, it's really fun when I can turn the stone into a pretty necklace for my Mom, as a gift for Mother's Day.
I'm calling the piece "Green with Envy," because, honestly, I'm tempted to keep it for myself. But Mom loves turquoise and lime green.  So I used turquoise beads and swarvoski crystals to accent the matte turquoise AB seed bead embroidery.  Subtle, so that the gemstone remains the focal.  Well, until Mom puts it on, that is.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Accidents

Sometimes, accidents are happy.  Like in this necklace:
I was putting away some geodes and this gorgeous pink slice landed next to a polymer piece from Purple Cactus Studio.  At first, I wasn't sure but then decided to go with it.  The colors blended well and it had the potential to be a striking, fun piece.  I've been wanting to make longer necklaces, for myself and for sale.  This seemed like a good piece to try that with.
By using the same colors in the bead embroidery, I think the two focal elements are pulled together.  Add in some colorful pink pearls and vibrant turquoise, this becomes the fun, funky piece I was looking for.

What do you think?  Does this work?

On a not so happy accident note, we had a kitchen fire last week.  Very scary!  Our house is little, less than 800 sq. feet.  So we use up every inch for multiple purposes.  J's desk is in the kitchen, which means her desk chair is  (was) fairly close to the stove.  Must be a gust caused the flames from a pot of boiling water to flare, catching a blanket on the chair.

I was sitting in the living room, 15 feet away and in view of the kitchen.  J was in her bedroom.  When the smoke alarm went off, we were both mystified.  There wasn't any smoke.  Then I looked into the kitchen and oh my goodness!  Flames a foot high down the back of the chair.  And a horrible smell of burning plastic. 

We were able to get the chair out of the house without catching anything else on fire and put the fire out with the garden hose.  The chair is ruined, J has a few blisters on her left hand from where she grabbed the chair, but the house is fine, the pets are fine, and we are very very lucky.

Fires in a fireplace or a campfire are lovely.  In a  house, uncontrolled, not so much.

All in all, I'll stick to the bead accident, thank you.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Photo Editor

Rhea.  She's a hard task mistress, this one.  Demands perfection.  Not of jewelry photos, mind you.  She's much more interested in the perfect beauty of cat food in her bowl, a sun spot on her favorite chair, and an open window for fresh air.

Very serious stuff.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Linsart

Linsart is one of my favorite Etsy artists.  Her faces are just divine - full of expression and life.  Each face seems to have a story all its own.

I chose this moon face for its gentleness.  She's so at peace, reflexive.  She looks like she's thinking happy thoughts.
I added a glass moon that I picked up at the stained glass store and finished the piece off with turquoise seed beads and turquoise beads.  I think the subtle effect is nice.  Makes me think of pleasant evenings with friends under a full moon.
Linsart has selected me as her featured artist for the month of May.  Check out her blog and Etsy page if you get the chance.  Thanks, Linda!  I so look forward to making more necklaces with your lovely work!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Four Years

The future belongs to those who follow the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Four years ago today, I earned my Bachelor's degree, with a double major (English-Creative Writing and Women's Studies).  I graduated cum laude, and was the Presidential Scholar for Women's Studies.  Pretty good for someone who grew up being told by her grandfather that she was dumb and would never amount to anything.

I believed him for years.

Standing behind the stage, dressed in my cap and gown, waiting for my name to be called, I was filled with a sense of pride that I had never experienced before.  The ceremony is a blur but I doubt I'll ever forget how wonderful that feeling was.  I put my grandfather's ghost to rest and took an important step forward in my life.

Now, four years later, I have a BA and two ! Master's degrees - one in Gender & Women's Studies and one in History (okay, the History degree isn't official yet, until I present my thesis to my committee.  But it's there - on the horizon.)  And in the Fall, I start PhD studies.

Wow.

I am incredibly blessed.  Blessed to be studying something I love so much.  Blessed to be able to teach a subject that empowers young women and men.  Blessed to have a life centered on learning.  If you've ever dreamed of going back to school, please go.  You're never too old.  After all, you'll still be that old four or six or ten years later.  It is one of the best gifts you can ever give yourself.